Skip to main content

Full text of "The Backward Art of Spending Money"

See other formats


Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in 
the world by JSTOR. 

Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other 
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the 
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 

We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this 
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial 

Read more about Early Journal Content at 
journal-content . 

JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people 
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching 
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit 
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please 


In the scheme of modern life, making money and spending money 
are strictly correlative arts. Of the two, spending is rated as 
both pleasanter and easier to practice. Certainly for most of us 
it is not less important. A few, indeed, make so much money 
that they can slight the art of spending without suffering dis- 
comfort, but the vast majority would gain as much from wiser 
spending as from increased earning. 

Important as the art of spending is, we have developed less 
skill in its practice than in the practice of making money. Com- 
mon sense forbids us to waste dollars earned by irksome efforts ; 
and yet we are notoriously extravagant. Ignorance of qualities, 
uncertainty of taste, lack of accounting, carelessness about prices 
— faults which would ruin a merchant — prevail in our housekeep- 
ing. Many of us scarcely know what becomes of our money ; 
though well-schooled citizens of a Money Economy ought to plan 
for their outgoes no less carefully than for their incomes. 

For this defect in our way of living we are often taken to task, 
not only by thrifty souls who feel that waste is sin, but also of 
late by men of large affairs who wish that we might ask less in- 
sistently for higher wages and save more money to invest in their 
securities. No doubt there is sufficient reason for faultfinding, 
and no doubt much of the free advice given on mending our ways 
is sound. Conscience admits the first, common sense the second. 
But in our haste to plead guilty we forget certain mitigating cir- 
cumstances which might go far toward recommending us to the 
mercy of an impartial court. To spend money is easy, to spend it 
well is hard. Our faults as spenders are not wholly due to wanton- 
ness, but largely to broad conditions over which as individuals 
we have slight control. 

Under the less complicated economic organization of barter 
and the nascent use of money, the family was the unit in large 
measure for purposes both of producing and consuming goods. 
By the time of American colonization, English society had grown 
out of such simple conditions. But the earlier colonists were 
forced by their isolation to revert to practices which the mother 
country had long since abandoned. The family became again 
a unit of producers, caring for each other's wants. Food-stuffs 

270 Wesley C. Mitchell [June 

and other raw materials were produced by the men, assisted by 
the women and children; these materials were prepared for fam- 
ily use by the women, assisted by the children and men. While 
this form of organization was transient in any one district, it 
kept re-appearing upon the frontier, so that for generations pro- 
duction was based in part upon the family as a unit. 

Denser settlement would have sufficed by itself to enable Amer- 
icans to develop division of labor and regular markets corres- 
ponding to those of seventeenth and eighteenth-century Eng- 
land. But in addition there came the industrial revolution and the 
railway. These factors in combination gradually deprived the 
family of its old importance as a unit for producing goods. For 
the factory made, the railway brought, the shop kept a great 
variety of articles which the family once provided for itself. Pro- 
duction was re-organized on the basis of a new unit — the business 
enterprise — in which the members of many families were employ- 
ed. And the new unit proved vastly more efficient than the old. 
It made possible more elaborate specialization of labor and ma- 
chinery, more perfect coordination of effort and greater reduc- 
tion of waste than could be attained by the family. There result- 
ed a gigantic increase in the volume of goods produced and in 
the aggregate incomes earned. 

Meanwhile as a unit for consuming goods, for spending money, 
the family has remained substantially where it was in colonial 
days. Division of labor in spending has not progressed beyond 
a rudimentary division between the adult men and women of the 
family — the women bearing the heavier burden of responsibility. 
Housework has been lightened by the growth of industry; but 
housewives still face essentially the same problems of ways and 
means as did their colonial grandmothers. No trade has made 
less progress than this, the most important of all trades. 

It is because we have not wanted to that we have not devel- 
oped a larger and more efficient unit for spending money than the 
family. Our race-old instincts of love between the sexes and 
parental affection, long since standardized in the institution of 
monogamy, are a part of experience at once so precious and so 
respectable that we have looked askance at every relaxation of 
the family bond, whatever material advantages it has promised. 
While we have become increasingly dependent upon other men 
for the goods we buy and for the sale of our services, we have 

1912] The Backward Art of Spending Money 271 

jealously insisted upon maintaining the privacy of family life, its 
freedom from outside control, so far as our circumstances have 
permitted. Reluctantly we have let the factory whistle, the time- 
table, the office hours impose their rigid routine upon our money- 
making days ; but our homes we have tried to guard from intrusion 
by the world of machinery and business. There are strains in our 
stock, to be sure, which can adapt themselves more readily to the 
lock-step of life organized by others ; such people fill our family 
hotels. But most of us still prefer a larger measure of privacy, 
even though we pay in poor cooking. So long as we cling fondly 
to home life, so long will the family remain the most important 
unit for spending money. And so long as the family remains the 
most important unit for spending money, so long will the art of 
spending lag behind the art of making money. 

The dominance of women in spending, which the family form 
of organization establishes, may explain the backwardness of the 
art in some measure. An effective contrast might be drawn be- 
tween the slipshod shopping of many housewives and the skilful, 
systematic buying done for business enterprises by men. But 
the fair comparison is between the housewife's shopping for the 
family, and her husband's shopping for strictly personal wants. 
Current opinion certainly represents women as more painstaking 
than men in making selections, and more zealous in hunting for 
bargains. Doubtless if men had to do the work they would do 
it otherwise in some ways, and doubtless they would think their 
ways better. But if men had to spend money under the limita- 
tions now imposed upon women by family life, they would cer- 
tainly find the task exceedingly difficult. It is the character of the 
work more than the character of the women which is responsible for 
poor results. Indeed, the defects of the workers are partly effects 
of the work. The lack of system, which reduces the efficiency of so 
many housewives, comes in a measure from the character of their 
daily tasks, like the pedantry which makes so many teachers un- 

The housewife's tasks are much more varied than the tasks 
which business organization assigns to most men. She must buy 
milk and shoes, furniture and meat, magazines and fuel, hats and 
underwear, bedding and disinfectants, medical services and toys, 
rugs and candy. Surely no one can be expected to possess expert 
knowledge of the qualities and prices of such varied wares. The 

272 Wesley C. Mitchell [June 

ease with which defects of materials or workmanship can be con- 
cealed in finishing many of these articles forces the purchaser 
often to judge quality by price, or to depend upon the interested 
assurances of advertisers and shopkeepers. The small scale on 
which many purchases are made precludes the opportunity of 
testing before buying, and many articles must be bought hurried- 
ly wherever they are found at whatever price is asked. If this work 
could be taken over for many families and conducted by a busi- 
ness enterprise it would be subdivided into several departments, 
and each department would have its own minute division of labor. 
Then there would be the commisariat with its trained corps of pur- 
chasing agents and chemists, each giving his whole working day 
to the buying or testing of meats, or vegetables, or groceries. 
Then there would be the departments of building and grounds, of 
furnishing, of fuel and lighting, of the laundry, of clothing, of 
the nursery and the like — all bringing specialized knowledge to 
the solution of their problems, all having time and opportunity 
to test qualities and find the lowest prices. The single family can 
no more secure the advantage of such division of labor in caring 
for its wants as consumers than the frontier family could de- 
velop division of labor in production. 

Nor can the family utilize labor-saving machinery to reduce 
the cost of living more effectively than can the very small shop 
utilize it to reduce the cost of production. The economical use 
of machinery requires that the work to be done be minutely sub- 
divided and that each successive operation be standardized. The 
family unit is so small, the tasks are so various, and the house- 
work is so scattered from cellar to attic as to make machinery 
more troublesome than useful. Even if a housewife were supplied 
with an elaborate mechanical equipment, and if she knew how to 
operate each machine and keep it in order, she could make but 
brief use of each device as she turned from one of her endless 
tasks to the next. A machine which is to stand idle ninety-nine 
hours in a hundred must possess extraordinary advantages, or cost 
but a trifle to warrant its being installed even in a factory. Hence 
the equipment which can be employed economically in the house- 
hold falls into the class of inexpensive utensils and hand tools ; 
even in this age of steam and electricity, a family must be cared 
for by hand. 

Again, the general managers of households, unlike the general 

1912] The Backward Art of Spending Money 273 

managers of business enterprises, are seldom selected upon the 
basis of efficiency. Indeed there are grounds for believing that in 
this country less attention is paid than formerly to housewifely 
capacity in choosing wives. The young farmer going west to take 
up land knew that his success would depend largely upon the ef- 
ficiency of his helpmate. Perhaps his grandson exercises as much 
worldly wisdom in choosing a wife, but he thinks more of how 
much an available parti can add to his income than of the skill 
with which she can manage what he earns. 

However chosen, the young wife seldom approaches her house- 
work in a professional spirit. She holds her highest duty that of 
being a good wife and a good mother. Doubtless to be a good 
manager is part of this duty ; but the human part of her relation- 
ship to husband and children ranks higher than the business part. 
In a sense the like holds true for the man ; but in his case the role 
of husband and father is separated more sharply from the role of 
money-maker. The one role is played at home, the other role in 
the fields, the shop, or the office. This separation helps the man 
to practice in his own activities a certain division of labor con- 
ducive to efficiency in money-making. He can give undivided at- 
tention during his working hours to his work. But the woman 
must do most of her work at home, amidst the countless interrup- 
tions of the household, with its endless calls from children and 
friends. She cannot divide her duties as a human being so sharply 
from her duties as a worker. Consequently, her housekeeping 
does not assume objective independence in her thinking, as an 
occupation in which she must become proficient. Household man- 
agement, under the conditions of family life, is not sufficiently dif- 
ferentiated from other parts of the housewife's life to be prose- 
cuted with the keen technical interest which men develop in their 

Upon the household manager, capable or not as she may be, 
family life commonly throws an exhausting routine of manual 
labor. In large business enterprises matters are managed better. 
The man who makes decisions, who initiates policies, who must ex- 
ercise sound judgment, does no work with his hands beyond sign- 
ing his name. He is relieved of all trivial duties, protected from 
all unnecessary intrusions. One of the handicaps of the small 
enterprise is that its manager must also keep the books, write the 
letters, or work in the shop — must disperse his energy over many 

274 Wesley C. Mitchell [June 

tasks. In the great majority of homes the housewife labors under 
a like handicap. If she has no servant, then cooking and sweep- 
ing, mending and shopping, tending the children and amusing her 
husband leave her little leisure and less energy for the work of 
management proper. Tired people stick in ruts. A household 
drudge can hardly be a good household manager. Even with one 
or two servants to assist them, many wives work longer hours 
than their husbands, and work under conditions which are more 
nervously exhausting. The number of housewives who have leisure 
to develop the art of spending money wisely must be a very small 

Though so many conditions of family life conspire to make 
hard the housewife's task, a surprising number of women achieve 
individual successes. If housekeeping were organized like business, 
these efficient managers would rapidly extend the scope of their 
authority, and presently be directing the work of many others. 
Then the less capable housewives, like the mass of their husbands, 
would be employed by these organizing geniuses at tasks which 
they could perform with credit to themselves and profit to the 
community. By this system we get the full use of our best 
brains in making money. But the limitations of family life ef- 
fectually debar us from making full use of our best domestic 
brains. The trained intelligence and the conquering capacity of 
the highly efficient housewife cannot be applied to the congenial 
task of setting to rights the disordered households of her inefficient 
neighbors. These neighbors, and even the husbands of these neigh- 
bors, are prone to regard critical commentaries upon their slack 
methods, however pertinent and constructive in character, as med- 
dlesome interferences. And the woman with a consuming passion 
for good management cannot compel her less progressive sisters 
to adopt her system against their wills, as an enterprising ad- 
vertiser may whip his reluctant rivals into line. For the master- 
ful housewife cannot win away the husbands of slack managers 
as the masterful merchant can win away the customers of the 
less able. What ability in spending money is developed among 
scattered individuals, we dam up within the walls of the single 

There are, however, reasons for the backwardness of the art 
of spending money other than the organization of expenditure on 

1912] The Backward Art of Spending Money 275 

the basis of the family. Grave technical difficulties inhere in the 
work itself, difficulties not to be wholly removed by any change of 

The rapid progress made and making in the arts of production 
rests upon progress in scientific knowledge. All the many branches 
of mechanics and engineering, are branches of the tree of knowl- 
edge, nourished by the roots of research. Among the various 
sciences the most important for industry are physics and chemis- 
try. It is by applying in practice the physical and chemical laws 
learned in the laboratory that recent generations have been able 
to develop not only their complicated machinery, but also their 
effective processes of modifying materials. Now physics and 
chemistry happen to be the sciences which deal with the subject 
matter which is simplest, most uniform, and most amenable to 
experimental control. They are therefore the sciences of which 
our knowledge is most full, most precise, and most reliable. 

In similar fashion, progress in the arts of consumption rests 
upon progress in science — or rather waits upon progress in 
science. To secure the better development of our children's bodies 
we need a better knowledge of food values and digestive processes, 
just as we need better knowledge of electricity to reduce the waste 
of energy on long transmission lines. To secure the better de- 
velopment of children's minds we need better knowledge of the 
order in which their various interests awake, just as we need bet- 
ter knowledge of physical-chemistry to control the noxious fumes 
of smelting plants. 

But, unfortunately for the art of spending money, the sciences 
of fundamental importance are not physics and chemistry, but 
physiology and functional psychology. While the latter may be 
ultimately capable of reduction to a physico-chemical basis, they 
certainly deal with subject-matters which are far less simple, less 
uniform, and less amenable to experimental control than physics 
or chemistry proper. Hence they are in a relatively rudimentary 
condition. As now written they are easier for the layman to 
read, they present fewer superficial difficulties ; but that is pre- 
cisely because their real difficulties have not been mastered and 

Accordingly, even the housewife who is abreast of her time 
labors under a serious disadvantage in comparison with the manu- 
facturer. The latter can learn from an industrial chemist and a 

276 Wesley C. Mitchell [June 

mechanical engineer far more about the materials he uses, the pro- 
cesses at his disposal, the machinery best adapted to his purpose 
than the housewife could learn from all the living physiologists 
and psychologists about the scientific laws of bodily and mental 
development. No doubt the sciences which will one day afford a 
secure basis of knowledge for bringing up a family are progress- 
ing; but it seems probable that they will long lag behind the 
sciences which serve the same office for industry. Hence the house- 
wife's work presents more unsolved problems, is more a matter of 
guesswork, and cannot in the nature of things be done as well as 
the work of making and carrying goods. Until such time as 
science shall illuminate the housewife's path, she must walk in 
the twilight of traditional opinion. 

If the art of making money has advantages over the art of 
spending on the side of scientific technique, it has equal advantages 
on the side of business method. Money making is systematized by 
accounting in which all the diverse elements in a complicated se- 
ries of bargains are adequately expressed in terms of one common 
denominator — the dollar. Thus a business man is enabled to com- 
pare the advantage of granting long credits with the advantage 
of selling on closer margins for cash; he can estimate whether it 
would be cheaper to buy a higher grade of coal or to let his fire 
boxes burn out rapidly; he can set off the cost of additional ad' 
vertising against the cost of more traveling salesmen. And 
since profits are also expressed in dollars, the business man can 
control all items of expense on the basis of their estimated con- 
tributions toward his gains. In making money, nothing but the 
pecuniary values of things however dissimilar need be consid- 
ered, and pecuniary values can always be balanced, compared, 
and adjusted in an orderly and systematic fashion. 

Not so with the housewife's values. A woman can indeed com- 
pare costs so long as they consist solely in the money prices she 
is charged for goods. But she cannot make a precise comparison 
between the price of a ready-to-wear frock, and the price of the 
materials plus her own work in making. Still less can she compare 
costs and gains. For her gains are not reducible to dollars, as are 
the profits of a business enterprise, but consist in the bodily and 
mental well-being of her family. For lack of a satisfactory com- 
mon denominator, she cannot even make objectively valid com- 

1912] The Backward Art of Spending Money 277 

parisons between the various gratifications which she may secure 
for ten dollars — attention to a child's teeth, a birthday present 
for her husband, two days at a sanatorium for herself. Only 
in the crudest way can subjective experiences of different orders 
occurring to different individuals be set against each other. 
Opinions regarding their relative importance change with the 
mood and flicker with the focus of attention. Decisions made 
one hour are often cause of regret the next. In fine, spending 
money cannot conceivably be reduced to such system as making 
money until someone invents a common denominator for money 
costs, and for all the different kinds and degrees of subjective 
gratifications which money can procure for people of unlike temp- 
eraments. Such household accounts as are kept doubtless have 
their value; but the most painstaking efforts to show the dispo- 
sition of every cent spent still leave unanswered the vital question 
of what has been gained. 

And what does the housewife seek to gain? The business 
man in quest of profits can answer such a question for himself in 
terms distinctly definite. To make money becomes an end in it- 
self; to spend money involves some end beyond the spending. 
When the housewife pursues her problem to this final query she 
comes upon the most baffling of her difficulties. Doubtless she 
can tell herself that she seeks the happiness of her husband and 
herself, the fair development of their children. But before these 
vague statements can serve as guides in the intensely practical 
problem of spending money, she must decide what happiness and 
development mean in concrete terms for her particular husband 
and children. Of course our housewives are seldom philosophers, 
and if they were they could not let the dishes go unwashed while 
they wrestled with the question of what is best worth while in 
life. Most women, indeed, do their work in an empirical spirit, 
so busied with obvious difficulties of detail that they are saved 
from seeing the deepest perplexities of their position. It is com- 
monly the very young wife whose conscience is worried about 
the ultimate aims of her spending; and she is more likely as the 
years go by to stop thinking about this problem than to think 
it out. 

In accounting for the defects of the art of spending, as that 
art is currently practiced, there is little need to lay stress upon 

278 Wesley C. Mitchell [June 

difficulties which are neglected by the great mass of practitioners. 
But there is one end which women assuredly do seek in spending, 
albeit unconsciously for the most part, which deserves attention 
because it is subversive of economical management. 

Nassau Senior long ago pointed out the important role played 
by the desire for distinction in guiding conduct ; and more 
recently Thorstein Veblen has developed the theme with much sub- 
tlety in his satirical Theory of the Leisure Class. We are all 
prone to draw invidious comparisons between ourselves and our 
neighbors. Such comparisons give us much edifying satisfaction 
when they can be twisted to our advantage, and produce a cor- 
responding sense of discomfort when we cannot disguise our own 
inferiority. The subject matter of these invidious comparisons is 
drawn from the whole range of our experience, from appreciating 
Browning to catching trout, from observing the Sabbath to the 
weight of our babies. In the Money Economy of today, where 
so much of our attention is devoted to business, these compari- 
sons turn with corresponding frequency upon our pecuniary stand- 
ing. Money income is a crude, tangible criterion of worth which 
all of us can understand and apply. It needs a certain original- 
ity of character or a certain degree of culture to free us even in a 
measure from the prevailing concern with commercial standards. 
Most of us who are rich like to feel'that the fact is known to all 
men ; most of us who are poor strive to conceal the petty economies 
we are compelled to practice. Of course we see this unamiable 
trait of human nature more clearly in others than in ourselves ; 
but in most of us that fact is but a subtle exercise of our inveterate 
habit of drawing biased comparisons between ourselves and others. 

Now the simplest and most effective way of providing material 
for a soul-satisfying comparison with others on the basis of pe- 
cuniary competence is to show that we are better off by living in 
larger houses, wearing more stylish clothing, taking more leisure, 
and the like. Thus the Money Economy forms in us the habit of 
extravagant expenditure for the unacknowledged purpose of im- 
pressing both ourselves and our neighbors with an adequate sense 
of our standing. Of course, indiscriminate vulgarity in wasting 
money offends our taste. The ideal toward which we learn to 
strive is an ideal of refined elegance, such as is reputed to be 
the legitimate offspring of generations of wealth and leisure. But 
for working purposes, all classes of society exhibit the same species 

1912] The Backward Art of Spending Money 279 

of impulse in a vast number of variants. The gaudy ribbons of 
the shopgirl are close kin to the paste jewels which the heiress 
wears to show that she keeps genuine jewels locked up in her safe- 
deposit box. 

In their task of spending money the mass of housewives come 
under the sway of this paradoxical impulse. Not for themselves 
alone, but also for the sake of their husbands and their children, 
must they make it appear that the family stands well in a world 
where worth is commonly interpreted as dollars' worth. An ap- 
pearance of poverty in comparison with their associates may dis- 
turb the husband's complacency and may handicap the children's 
chances of forming pleasant and profitable associations. World- 
ly wisdom, therefore, counsels the housewife to make as brave a 
show as may be with the income at her disposal. She must buy 
not only gratifications for the appetites and the aesthetic senses, 
but also social consideration and the pleasant consciousness of 
possessing it. The cost of the latter is an air of disregarding 

If this analysis of the reasons why the art of spending money 
is in so backward a state be sound, it follows that homilies upon 
the ignorance, foolish extravagance, and lack of system among 
our housewives are a vain exercise, productive of slight effect be- 
yond the temporary indignation they arouse. However edifying 
such preachments may be made, they cannot remove the limits 
which family life sets to a more effective organization of expen- 
diture, they cannot increase our knowledge of physiology and 
psychology, they cannot give us a common denominator for costs 
and gains in living, they cannot define our aims with definiteness, 
and they cannot cure us of seeking social consideration by liv- 
ing beyond our means; 

What prospect of improvement can be seen lies in the slow 
modification of the broad social conditions which make woman's 
work so difficult at present. Despite certain relaxations of the 
family bond, we are seemingly inclined to maintain the essential 
features of the family group, with its large measure of privacy. 
Nevertheless, we are re-organizing certain forms of family ex- 
penditure on the basis of larger groups. Some among these 
tentative efforts may survive initial blunders and increase mightily 
in the years to come. The apartment building with its steam 

280 Wesley C. Mitchell [June 

heat, janitor service, and common washtubs seems likely to in- 
crease in favor and perhaps will increase in the facilities it offers. 
The family hotel, which still seems to many of us the worst place 
for a family, may please a larger number of our children. Co- 
operative kitchens look promising on paper and may prove endur- 
able in practice — particularly if wages of competent cooks con- 
tinue to rise. Pure food laws, municipal certification of milk, and 
the like render easier the task of the housewife who is intelligent, 
though they doubtless disquiet her easy-going sisters by empha- 
sizing dangers of which they had been but dimly conscious. Fi- 
nally, our cities are providing with a larger liberality playgrounds, 
parks, library stations, day nurseries — a socialized spending of 
money with a neighborhood instead of a family as the unit. In 
spite of the fact that all these forms of arranging expenditure 
for larger groups may be so managed as to increase the cost and 
diminish the benefit, they at least represent promising experiments 
which may result in solid gains. For one thing they give men a 
larger share in organizing expenditures, and men bring to the task 
a trained capacity for cooperation and the development of sys- 
tem — qualities to which the greater size of the unit allows free 

With greater confidence we may rely upon progress in physi- 
ology and psychology to make wider and more secure the scien- 
tific foundations of housekeeping. But such progress will have 
little practical effect unless the results of research are made avail- 
able to far larger circles. This work of popularizing scientific 
knowledge, however, promises to become increasingly effective. 
Most of the magazines for women have departments devoted to 
matters of technical interest to housewives — channels through 
which trebly diluted applications of science may trickle to thous- 
ands of untrained readers. The ever increasing number of wom- 
en's clubs, with their ever increasing membership, are other prom- 
ising centers for the dissemination of knowledge concerning scien- 
tific cooking, domestic hygiene, sanitation and the like. Probably 
of more importance will be the growing attention to "domestic 
science" in the schools, and the efforts of colleges and universities 
to meet the popular demand for adequate instruction in the mat- 
ters of gravest import to future wives and mothers. At best, 
however, a small percentage of women can secure this more elab- 
orate training. And the more we learn about the sciences in- 

1912] The Backward Art of Spending Money 281 

volved, the more prolonged, more difficult, and more expensive 
will such training become. Perhaps we may solve the problem by 
developing a professional class of Doctors of Domestic Science, 
who will be employed in organizing households, giving expert 
counsel to the newly wed, holding free dispensaries of advice for 
the indigent, assisting in divers municipal ventures in welfare work, 
and the like. Then the training of the mass of women may be 
confined to such an exhibit of the complexities and responsibilities 
of their work as will induce them to employ these elect as freely 
as they now employ physicians. 

But even after many of the housewife's present cares have been 
reduced by the extension of business enterprise and municipal 
housekeeping, and after the housewife has received better train- 
ing herself and can command the expert advice of a professional 
class, her task in spending money will still remain perplexing to 
one who takes it seriously. For the ultimate problem of what is 
worth while to strive for is not to be solved by sounder organiza- 
tion, by better training, or by the advance of science. Doubtless 
most women, like most men, will ever continue to accept uncritic- 
ally the scale of conventional values which their day and genera- 
tion provides ready-made. To such souls the only non-technical 
problems will be problems of reconciling minor inconsistencies, or 
striving to attain the more decorous standards of a higher social 
class. But to women of conscience and insight the ends of living 
will always be a part of the problem of spending money — the part 
which is most inspiring and most baffling. In this aspect the art 
of spending money differs from the technical pursuits of business 
and science, and is allied to philosophy and ethics. There is a 
scheme of values embodied in every housewife's work, whether she 
knows it or not, and this scheme affects for good or ill the health, 
the tastes, the character of those for whom she cares and those 
with whom she associates. 

Wesley C. Mitchell. 

University of California.